Slip complexity in a crustal plane model of an earthquake fault

Myers, Christopher H.; Shaw, Bruce E.; Langer, James S.

We study numerically the behavior of a two-dimensional elastic plate (a crustal plane) that terminates along one of its edges at a fault boundary. Slip-weakening friction at the boundary, inertial dynamics in the bulk, and uniform slow loading via elastic coupling to a substrate combine to produce a complex, deterministically chaotic sequence of slipping events. We observe a power-law distribution of small events and an excess of large events. For the small events, the moments scale with rupture length in a manner that is consistent with seismological observations. For the large events, rupture occurs in the form of narrow propagating pulses.


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Physical Review Letters

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